Afro-latinx poets
Photo courtesy of Hispanicize

Every day is poetry day when you are in love with verses and their ability to inspire us.

Today we want to continue to elevate the voices of some of our favorite Afro-Latinx creatives, whose literature and poems take us to another dimension.

Overall, poetry is wonderful. It allows us to embody our softer side and interpret words into personal meaning. Often, these incredible authors share with their hearts on their sleeves, allowing us to peek into their lives. What better way to give back to them than continue spreading their words?

With that in mind, here are three Afro-Latinx poets who inspire us, one verse at a time.

Elizabeth Acevedo

“My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews wearing pretty florals and a soft smile. They got combat boots and a mouth silent until it’s sharp as an island machete.” 

The Dominican-American author and poet Elizabeth Acevedo’s New York Times-bestselling book “The Poet X” was published in 2018. While she’s commonly known for her slam poetry, she’s also the author of five books. This particular line is from arguably her most famous book and follows a fifteen-year-old poet as she navigates through her family’s conflicts and tension by writing poetry. The quote above brings us joy, knowing that young readers will read this and be encouraged to be different. You can be anything you want, regardless of your family’s standards. 

Jennifer Maritza McCauley

“Girl you so strong, you so straight up strong.

Look at them chipless teeth, at them horsemuscle legs,

look at that fatless face, with no wrinkle nor tear.

Girl, you got them blueberry lips that never

flip down, that hair crinkled like dark mother, hey

queen girl, goddess lady, my girl girl girl.”

This is a verse from McCauley’s “My Black Girl.” “I often write about being both Black American and Puerto Rican and living in in-between spaces and different worlds — and where those worlds overlap,” she said in a recent interview. “I’m proud of my heritage and like to explore it in my poetry.” This verse inspires us to be unapologetically ourselves and feel like a goddess with the natural beauty we own.

Yesenia Montilla

“I am searching           my own body   

for                God      

or someone like her—”

Montilla is an Afro-Latina poet and a daughter of immigrants, born and raised in New York City. This is a verse from “:: Searching for My Own Body ::.” 

She wrote this poem after conversing about the #MeToo movement, being a survivor herself. The inspiration came from realizing that many women have suffered from the same experience she did “at the hands of men.” Later on, she saw a quote by Borzutzky, and attempted to “unpack it against my own sense of self, my own love of body, of consensual touch, and maybe even tried to give some power back to these women.” This verse inspires us to experience our bodies from a different perspective and to embody self-love.

Who are your favorite Afro-Latinx poets?